Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Open WorldCat

OCLC has decided to turn the Open WorldCat pilot into a program that will be an ongoing benefit for OCLC member libraries. The pilot has clearly demonstrated the value of making WorldCat records and library holdings available to the general public on the open Web. During the pilot phase, Open WorldCat brought millions of click-throughs from Web search engines such as Google and Yahoo! Search to the Open WorldCat interface, where users could find and link to library catalogs and other resources. This is consistent with OCLC's chartered objective of increasing the availability of library resources and goal of weaving libraries into the Web.

OCLC has released an updated interface for the Open WorldCat Program. Interface enhancements include:

  • A library distance indicator
  • An expandable view of holdings beyond local libraries (when available)
  • A more intuitive display of IP-authenticated, library services links
  • Book cover images, when available (for IP-authenticated users)
  • An easier-to-use layout to help web users find materials in library collections
OCLC plans the following enhancements to Open WorldCat by January 2005:
  • Expand the set of libraries exposed through Open WorldCat to all libraries with ownership information in the WorldCat database. This is scheduled to occur on November 7. Libraries that do not wish to participate in the Program may request removal using the "Update your links" feedback form. OCLC will continue to honor previous removal requests.
  • Make all records with holdings in WorldCat available for harvesting by Google and Yahoo! Search. Harvesting by partners will occur gradually over a period of time.
  • Release a usage statistics site for libraries. With these statistics, library staff may monitor the number of times someone reaches their catalog, Web site or various IP-based FirstSearch fulfillment links from the Open WorldCat interface.
A fact sheet with additional details about the Open WorldCat pilot and plans for the ongoing Open WorldCat Program is available on the Open WorldCat Web site.

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